Joe’s blog – #90 – Is healthcare a right or a privilege?

Those who drafted our Constitution and, those who ratified it, were of the conviction that we are all endowed with certain inalienable rights chief of which, as set forth in our Declaration of Independence, is the right to Life. It necessarily follows, at least in my mind, that healthcare is a right and not a privilege granted only to those who can afford it. Any human being who becomes ill and, who due to that illness will die a premature death if denied proper health care is, as I see it, being denied their right to life.
If then, health care is a right, we the people then have an affirmative moral and, constitutional, obligation to ensure that every citizen has access to affordable and adequate health care.
It is no argument to the contrary to shout that the words “health care” do not appear anywhere in our constitutional document and, ergo, health care is no right. That contention is a non sequitur. The Preamble to our Constitution clearly supports the notion that health care is, in fact, directly linked to the right to life. We, especially our elected and appointed representatives, would cease with our never ending nitpicking of the various provisions of our constitution if only we would remember that the Preamble stands at the very head of our Constitutional Order. Every word, article, and clause that follows thereafter is intended to deploy the principles and ideals so succinctly stated therein. Rarely do we ever hear anyone begin a discussion of the Constitution from its opening lines. When the Preamble is ignored our discussions around the constitution tend to get hacked into discrete sound bites with each bit pontificated upon in isolation from the whole; thus, severing the body from the head, and losing the interplay between the ideals articulated in the Preamble and the rest of the constitution. We need to remember always that our constitution is a singular document and not a hodgepodge of disconnected clauses.
In our current debates surrounding the issue of health care it would be wise to hold the Preamble up as a frame of reference. Anyone who favors or opposes a particular legislative solution to a particular societal issue needs to address how their support or opposition squares with the ideals stated in the Preamble.
The purpose behind the Constitution, i.e., to secure a more perfect union, was to recognize what are surely among the first and most enduring values of organized society; i.e., justice, the general welfare and liberty. The issue at the founding of our Constitution was not the nature of those values/ideals but, rather, how those ideals/values could be best safeguarded. As to the nature of those values/ideals there was then, as there is today, much disagreement. And, the freedom to disagree should be today, as it was then, recognized as an ultimate and unchallengeable value in the Republic they entrusted to our care. That last said, we should also remember that those who gave us our Constitution viewed the prevalence of faction as a serious danger to popular government.
I suspect that if we could all agree that health care is in fact a right, one that we have an affirmative obligation to ensure is afforded to all, then sorting out the details as to how best make that happen would prove less difficult.
Each and every member of our legislative, judicial and executive branch of government needs to be asked the basic question that opened this blog:
“Is health care a right or not?”
Then and only then will we the people truly know where those we entrusted to represent our interests stand, and what we need to do to hold them accountable.

Peace, Joe G
Deerfield C.C. 7 May 2017

This is the posts comments

  1. Tom Ryals July 20, 2017 at 10:37 #

    Hey! Joe! It has been about 27 years since Cindy and I interviewed you on “death row”! I see you are doing well…considering your situation.

    I agree with your statements about healthcare. Although it is not a right, it SHOULD be! I think it will be in the not-too-distant future. We need to remove insurance companys out of the equation!

    Thanks for doing what you are doing!

    BTW, Cindy and I have grandchildren now.

    Tom

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